Justin Foster on grabbing a starting spot: "I've got to step up"

by - Senior Writer -
Justin Foster at practice last week
Justin Foster at practice last week

CLEMSON - Justin Foster arrived on Clemson’s campus, but his size (6-2, 260) made a move to defensive end a logical one. He’s still learning, but now he’s ready to grab a starting spot.

“Right now, it’s starting to kick in,” Foster said last week. “I feel relaxed, and I’m not panicking. Last year, I was still on the edge and as a freshman, I was all over the place. I’m starting to figure it out.

“I’ve got to step up.”

Foster had eight tackles, a tackle for loss and 0.5 sacks in 84 snaps over nine games as a freshman in 2017 and was credited with 17 tackles (6.0 for loss), 2.0 sacks and a fumble recovery in 180 snaps in 15 games in 2018. That includes four tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and a sack against Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl.

However, Foster was still one of the youngsters last season and deferred to older players like Austin Bryant and Clelin Ferrell.

Now, it’s his turn to lead.

“It’s kind of weird coming in. Last year you had so many old guys on there with so much knowledge,” Foster said. “Now players come to me for plays and different things. I’ve got to step in and fill the role. I’ve got to be more vocal and step up more. I need to lead the group.”

The older guys keep in touch.

“They say to keep working hard and that they are watching,” he said. “They give us tips on different things and help us out. It feels like they are still here. We still communicate. If we ever need anything, they hit us right back. I hear from them every day. It feels like they are still here. If I hit them, they contact me right back.”

What does he want to improve on?

“I want to use more speed because I’m more of a power guy,” Foster said. “Just work on my speed rush, using my hands more, and being more aggressive at the point of attack.”

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